Just days earlier, the school district celebrated the opening of Mission Crest Elementary. The previous week was the lively grand opening ceremony for Canyon Ridge, Hesperia's second alternative high school. And so on this day, Friday, May 9, district administrators and city dignitaries gathered to celebrate the third school grand opening in less than two weeks.


"This is a very historic occurrence for Hesperia," Robert Kirk, president of the Hesperia Unified School District board of education, said of the Cedar Middle School opening festivities. "This has never happened before in the history of Hesperia."


And at a cost of about $63 million for all three new schools, the school district made smart choices.


"What a tremendous investment," Kirk said. "It took support and leadership from the supintendent and his cabinet."


Cedar Middle School opened last August, which some people doubted could be done, principal Dave Olney said after the ceremony.


"But we were ready to go on the first day of school."


Olney credited the hard work of his staff, which he said is a close-knit team.


"They work so well together."


With the school year nearly over, Olney looks back with a strong sense of satisfaction.


"We had a great year," Olney said. "This is a community that if they're not happy with you you'll hear about it. So far, I haven't heard anything bad."


But more work is to be done. The gymnasium and cafeteria will soon open, and next year the school will have full computer labs.


"We all is said and done, not only we'll we have the best middle-school facility, but we'll have the best technology."


For the 2007-08 school year, Cedar Middle School had 550 students, all seventh-graders. Next year, the school will have both seventh- and eighth-graders, bringing the total student body to about 1,200.


"It's built for 1,700. We'll be in the unique situation of having room to grow."


The opening of Cedar Middle School enables HUSD to provide neighborhood schooling for a total of 3,500 middler-schoolers, according to superintendent Mark McKinney.


But the district has its sights on other opportunities to meet the growing demands.


"Hesperia is building schools as fast as it can for our children and our future," Kirk said.